A sold out crowd packed the transformed Winter Haven Armory for an evening to celebrate community and lives well lived at the 2016 Banker's Cup Citizens of the Year Gala. No, it’s not just for bankers, but it was historically given to citizens by bankers, hence the name. Our banking community carries on that tradition today by strongly supporting the awards ceremony today! The Banker’s Cup Award is considered Winter Haven’s highest honor as it recognizes a citizen who has made a significant impact/contribution over a number of years or through a single project.
The 2016 Banker's Cup Citizens of the Year are Doug Lockwood and Suzie Moraco. Read more about the many wonderful things they have done for the Winter Haven community!
Thank you to our Presenting and Supporting Sponsors:
2016 Banker's Cup Woman of the Year: Suzie Moraco
One nominator of this year’s Woman of the Year noted that she doesn’t understand how the honoree has time to sleep with all she does within the community. A native Floridian and a Winter Haven resident for the last 21 years, Suzanne (Suzie) Moraco has been actively involved in the Winter Haven community since the moment she moved to the area. Yet another nominator noted that her tireless dedication to organizations and causes outside of the scope of her daily work-life is a prime example of how she is leaving a legacy in the Winter Haven community.
Suzie is a graduate of the University of South Florida with a Bachelor’s Degree in Mathematics. Years later she completed a Masters of Education with a concentration in Organizational Management.
Her service to the community includes volunteering for children-focused organizations such as President of The Kiwanis Club of Winter Haven and on the advisory council of Our Children’s Rehab. She has also dedicated her time to the betterment of the business community and is a 2004 graduate of the Leadership Winter Haven program. She was named Distinguished Alumnus of the Year for Leadership Winter Haven in 2008. She served on the Chamber’s board of directors from 2005-2011. She has also volunteered for many years with the Community Foundation of Winter Haven, now known as GiveWell Community Foundation and will serve this year as Board Chairwoman. In 2011 Girls Inc. of Winter Haven recognized her with the “She Knows Where She’s Going” George Jenkins award. This award recognizes women whose abilities, aspirations and achievements distinguish them as exceptional role models. One of her nominators noted that her influence and impact is significant beyond her past and current obligations, as she remains loyal to her affiliations retaining membership and maintaining a high level of involvement and support for projects well beyond her official service on a board. All of this is in addition to her “day job” as a financial advisor for Morgan Stanley Wealth Management.
Perhaps one of her biggest imprints left on Winter Haven will have the greatest impact not on us humans but on our four-legged residents. Suzie has volunteered for the Humane Society of Polk County for more than 15 years and in partnership with their executive director, Lisa Baker, led the effort to build the amazing new shelter on Dundee Road. The Humane Society of Polk County saves the lives of nearly 1,000 animals each year. On average the shelter has roughly 30 dogs and 75 cats in residence waiting to find their fur-ever home. They operated for almost 35 years out of very cramped quarters until last June when they opened their $2 million dollar, 11,000 square foot building. The facility is state-of-the-art including solar panel installation on the roof for a net-zero energy bill. There is also an advanced air conditioning system that has each room on its own circulation to avoid cross-contamination – the new facility is truly cutting edge.
None of this would have been possible without the leadership of Suzie Moraco. It takes a energy and passion to run a capital campaign of this magnitude and she did it willingly, even saying yes to extending her term as President to ensure the process carried through successfully.
Perhaps all of this is why her husband Sal forever commemorated her with a brick in the Chamber breezeway that reads, and I quote, “Suzie The Crazy Cat Lady.” Congratulations Suzie!
2016 Man of the Year: Doug Lockwood
According to the criteria for receiving the Bankers Cup award, a person can be honored for freely given service over a period of years for a multitude of causes, or for one significant effort that has had a positive impact on our community. According to his multiple nominators, Doug Lockwood meets both of those criteria many times over.
Born and raised in Winter Haven, Doug left for college and moved back after graduation, as he hopes many future generations will do. His list of community involvement is expansive including service on the board of directors for Good Shepherd Hospice of Mid-Florida, Habitat for Humanity of East Polk, the Winter Haven Planning Commission, the Polk County Affordable Housing Task Force and a past Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Chamber. He also has served as a Boy Scott Troop Leader, on the board of Ridge Art Association, Our Children’s Rehab and has been special magistrate of the Code Enforcement Division Boards for Winter Haven, Auburndale, Lake Alfred and Eagle Lake. And if that isn’t already enough he has volunteered with Hope Now Transition which provides guidance to men who have been imprisoned and are preparing for release, as well as Angels Care Center in Eloise, a medical center for uninsured citizens. Using his knowledge as an attorney, for many years Doug donated estate planning services to hospice patients during their final days of life.
All of that alone would be enough to leave an indelible impact on many people in the Winter Haven community. But it doesn’t quite scratch the surface. Despite the demands of being an attorney, first at Peterson & Myers, P.A. for many years, and now at Straughn and Turner, P.A. Doug has been THE catalyst to numerous changes within our school system in Winter Haven.
He first stepped up to the plate as Chairman of the Chamber’s Education Outcomes Committee, which conducted a study of the myriad of challenges facing Winter Haven’s public schools. He assembled a blue ribbon committee of area educators and business leaders and proceeded to change the landscape for Winter Haven’s educational system. Despite the fact that his own children were not enrolled in Winter Haven schools at the time, he was determined to improve our school system for the greater good of the community and for future generations to come. Based on the results of the committee’s study, he laid out a plan to improve the schools. He, with other volunteers, formed the Winter Haven Public Education Partnership, which set forth to implement the plan.
And that they have – PEP is a non-profit committed to assuring that Winter Haven’s schools are unequaled in quality, relevance, and student performance. PEP seeks to improve its schools through advocacy, community engagement, and collaborative partnerships. Under the leadership of Doug Lockwood and last year’s recipient Audrey Nettlow, the Winter Haven Public Education Partnership has started two tutoring programs, one in Florence Villa at the PEP Tutoring Center and one at Inwood Elementary school. With the assistance of past recipient Nat West they started a career mentoring program called Career Connection. They are also the group responsible for the Cambridge Program at Winter Haven High School and for advocating for Winter Haven High School to get more opportunities in the way of school academies. In 2015 the Polk County School Board announced that Winter Haven High School would be the first in the county to be Wall-to-Wall academies.
While these are very impressive achievements in just the small time they have existed, many people don’t know the incredible amount of hard work it took to get there. Not so much from the private community – they have stepped up in many ways when asked. But Doug has fought hard at the school district level to make these things happen. Some people jumped on board while others needed more convincing. But it is with his perseverance that the needle has begun to move in several underserved areas in our educational system. And he continues to fight today. During these rough times we are going through with our school district, the Winter Haven community has been looked to as an example as to how to mobilize and organize to demand change and improvement. That is no doubt a direct result of the efforts of the 2016 Banker’s Cup Man of the Year. Congratulations Doug!
Thank you to the following restaurants who helped to make this evenings dining extravaganza truly special:
Gourmet Goodies Bake Shop
House of Wings and Mexican Grill
La Flor de Espana Bakery & Restaurant
PenGeo, Inc. d/b/a KFC
Richard’s Fine Coffees
Tam’s Classic Catering
Terrie Lobb Catering
The Catering Company
The Seasoned Stone